Fitness Advice for a Christian

Inspired by Phillips Brooks' advice to "write something besides sermons" but to do it as a pastor, I thought of what I would say about fitness from the perspective of a pastor and Christian who was a former personal trainer.

I enjoyed being a personal trainer. Losing 50 lbs. improved my life a lot. I enjoyed helping others move better, feel better, and get healthier. There are a lot of pitfalls in the health and fitness world though. I'm not sure that they are different than in other areas of our world, but they exist.

Here is what I would say as a pastor to someone about how to pursue health and fitness as a Christian:

  • Don't be selfish or self-centered. 2 Corinthians 5:15 reminds us that we once lived for ourselves before we met Christ. So if our fitness goals or methods are selfish, we are going back to our old way of living. If your goal is to get other people's attention, then it is selfish. If your method requires you to sacrifice your family to spend excessive time at the gym or track, then it is selfish. 
  • Don't be envious. What God gave others, is not for you. Don't look at others' goals and accomplishments and wish they were yours. Don't envy their bench press or their body fat. Don't envy their speed or their looks.
  • Don't make your body, fitness, strength, performance your identity. Your identity should be rooted only in Christ. Any other identity is weak and sinful. It will lead you astray.
  • Resist the emphasis on sex. The fitness world often emphasizes sex and sexiness above everything. Christians should have no part in that. Galatians 5 makes it clear that a life dominated by physical desire does not come from being in Christ and walking with the Spirit. The health and fitness world is not trying to encourage a healthy and godly sex life between a husband and wife, so separate your health and fitness goals and methods from sex and sexiness.
  • Use your time, strength, health, and fitness to serve others. Crawling is a good exercise for abs , shoulders, and cardio. If I crawl in my workout but won't crawl after my kids in a game, then I'm not using my fitness to serve my kids. There is a certain amount of health and fat loss that serves my family. There is a certain amount of strength that serves my family. There is a certain amount of time I can devote to fitness. Serving means doing the right amount and then moving on to other things.
*photo generated with Canva Magic Media ai photo generator. I love how it made a list with gibberish on the walls!


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